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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-06-28

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] US - Greece - Turkey - Cyprus - Arms

  • 2215:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US - Greece - Turkey - Cyprus - Arms

    Washington, Jun 28 (CNA) -- The governments of Greece and Turkey have agreed to a request by the US and withdrew American-made arms which they had transferred to Cyprus, in contravention a Congress provision enacted in 1987, State Department Spokesman James Rubin said today.

    Last Friday the State Department had submitted a classified report to Congress on the issue in response to allegations received in May 1998 that US military equipment had been transferred to or used on Cyprus.

    "The Department of State, in conjunction with other relevant agencies, investigated these allegations and we submitted a classified report containing the results of that investigation to Congress on the 25th of June," Rubin said.

    He refrained from revealing its content but said "both Greece and Turkey sent US-origin military items to Cyprus in contravention of the commitments they made to the US related to the provision of US military items."

    The State Department Spokesman said that as a result of the investigation the US "asked the Greek and Turkish governments to withdraw certain US-origin items from Cyprus."

    "Both governments agreed to do so and have informed us that the items of concern have been removed," he added.

    Rubin said the Congress provision of December 27th 1987 specifies which arms had to be removed.

    He explained the provision: "Requires that our government-to- government agreement for sales of items on the US munitions list entered into after this provision became law must state that 'the article is being provided by the US government only with the understanding that it will not be transferred to Cyprus or otherwise used to further the severance or division of Cyprus'."

    The American official said the provision applies to both Greece and Turkey, as it does in the case of other countries with which the US has such contracts.

    He clarified that the Congress law "does not make exceptions for transfers to Cyprus that have the consent of the Cyprus government", adding "certain items did so, in contravention to that provision, and that's why the governments of Greece and Turkey have agreed to remove the equipment."

    Asked how he characterises cooperation between the governments of Greece and Turkey with the US, Rubin said this was an issue on which his country was concerned.

    He pointed out however that Greece and Turkey are NATO allies and "they've agreed to remove this equipment and they've informed us that the items of concern have been removed and so we think we've solved the problem."

    Replying to questions, Rubin refrained from revealing the type of weapons withdrawn but said "it's substantive enough for us to require that the equipment be removed."

    Turkey maintains a heavily-armed strong military force in Cyprus since it invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory in 1974.

    In statements on Saturday on the issue of US-made arms, former Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou had said the Cyprus National Guard has no American arms whereas the Turkish occupation forces are armed mainly with American weapons.

    CNA DA/MA/MCH/1999
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
    Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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